Suing Charitable Organizations for Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse victims in West Virginia and around the nation are finally getting a measure of justice for physical and psychological traumas suffered at the hands of members and employees of charitable organizations. Lawsuits across the country are holding revered institutions liable for harboring pedophiles and sexual predators who victimized untold numbers of people. Sexual abuse has been shown to be pervasive in religious organizations, youth groups and college athletics programs.
Multiple religious organizations are facing widescale allegations of sexual abuse. These are the major legal actions pending or settled:
- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reported that 4,228 allegations of child abuse by priests and other clergy members across the country were filed between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. In the last five years, dioceses in Minnesota, New York, New Orleans and Pennsylvania have filed for bankruptcy after agreeing to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to victims.
- Multiple active lawsuits accuse the Jehovah’s Witnesses of covering up sexual abuse by church elders, who allegedly warned victims that telling anyone about the abuse would lead them to be exiled from the church.
- The Church of Scientology is facing numerous allegations of sexual abuse, including those in cases made public in a television documentary produced by actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini.
- The Mormon church is facing abuse and cover-up allegations across the country. In August 2022, an investigation found that the church’s abuse “help line” was often used to funnel complaints to church attorneys, who then buried them.
Among youth groups, the most notorious pattern of sexual abuse is alleged against the Boy Scouts of America. The BSA was hit with a flood of lawsuits after several states passed laws allowing accusers to sue over allegations going back decades. More than 80,000 men came forward claiming they were abused as children by troop leaders. The BSA declared bankruptcy and is nearing a massive $2.3 billion settlement of the claims.
A 2021 USA Today report said one in four college athletes surveyed reported being sexually assaulted or harassed by someone in a position of power on campus. Coaches were the college employees most frequently cited as the abusers. Among the recent cases are these:
- More than 400 former athletes have filed lawsuits against Ohio State University since 2018 alleging abuse during medical examinations.
- The University of Michigan reached a $460 million settlement in January 2022 with more than 1,000 former athletes who were allegedly abused by a sports doctor.
- In 2018, Michigan State University agreed to pay $500 million to 332 victims of former osteopathic physician Larry Nassar, now in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of young athletes.
At The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC, we help sexual abuse survivors seek justice against charitable organizations that may be complicit. We offer a free, confidential consultation where you can tell your story and find out about your legal options. Please call our Charleston office at 888-819-1281 or contact us online anytime.